By: Bea Wyatt
I decided to look into when it was that Goldwater Institute (GWI) started to interject themselves into the Coyotes/NHL/Glendale negotiation process.
In combing through the GWI, I discovered the first time that GWI Got “on the record” in this matter was (according to GWI) February 26, 2009. On that day, Carrie Ann Sitren was speaking on Channel 12. It is now marked as a private video on YouTube.com. Since the video is blocked and requires a password, so I was unable to view it, but there was a synopsis of the video on the GWI site:
“There are reports that the City of Glendale could give the Phoenix Coyotes $15 million a year to help keep them in business. The Goldwater Institute’s Carrie Ann Sitren talked with Channel 12 about how far cities can go in helping private businesses”
I thought it was strange that at this point the headline was the “Coyotes” and not “Moyes” who was the owner of the team, as well as a local businessman and a former (maybe even current) board member of Goldwater.
In another video from Channel 3, posted on YouTube on May 13, 2009, Ms. Sitren clearly states that it was indeed Jerry Moyes who had provided Goldwater with the information about the potential arena management fees. Click here to watch the video, listen to the misleading if not incorrect dollar amounts.
Within a few months the hockey season was over and before the ice had thawed inside Jobing.com arena, Jerry Moyes had taken the team into bankruptcy.
During the summer we learned from the bankruptcy hearings that the NHL had been infusing the team with money throught out the last season at least if not longer, and that the NHL, for all intents and purposes, had taken control of the Coyotes in November 2008 by virtue of a proxy agreement with Moyes. The NHL claimed this agreement, and several others signed by Moyes, specifically barred Moyes from filing for bankruptcy.
We can surmise that sometime after the NHL had assumed control of the Coyotes in November 2008, and before the time that Ms. Sitren had her time on Channel 12 in February 2009, Mr. Moyes notified GWI that the CoG has been contacted to work on an agreement that will require them to pay to have their building managed. This was conveniently called a “subsidy” versus an arena management fee by Moyes, who, in my opinion, leaked confidential information to Goldwater with the specific intent, if not even direct instructions, to poison any possible sale of the team with Glendale voters and the public at large by turning opinion against the team.
Moyes attorneys in August 2009 had been sanctioned by the bankruptcy court for “leaking” confidential information with the intent of destroying a potential sale of the Coyotes to Jerry Reinsdorf, one has to wonder if this had been the only / first time this had occurred, especially considering the close relationship Jerry Moyes had with Goldwater and probably still maintains.
As far as I was able to find this interview was the first time that Goldwater has a record of commenting negatively on the Coyotes and a potential buyer. The real questions should be, why would Moyes want this information to be shared with anyone, much less a “tax payer watchdog” group. In my opinion, it is to scorch the earth, and to turn public opinion against any deal that would keep the team in Glendale that required the city of Glendale to pay for maintenance or management of their city owned property Jobing.com arena.
This still doesn’t make sense until you move forward a few months to May 5, 2009. On this fateful day, Moyes files the necessary papers to take the Coyotes into bankruptcy. That very same day (we hear), Gary Bettman, Comissioner of the NHL was headed to Phoenix to meet with Moyes to go over the options to sell the team to potential buyers, especially Jerry Reinsdorf. This sale would keep the team in town for at least a few years, with the option to move if the team wasn’t able to make a go of it. But this plan would require an special taxing district to pay for the management fees. This, incidentially, is the confidential information that Moyes attorneys got caught leaking, garnering sanction from the court.
Moyes was aware that the sale price being tossed around by the NHL wouldn’t leave enough extra to allow Moyes to walk away from the sale with the $103 million that he felt he was owed. However if he were able to sell the team to someone who woud pay more for the the team, regardless if the team would stay in Glendale or not he could walk away with more cash. In walks Canadian Blackberry billionaire Balsillie, a man dying to own a hockey team. With Balsillie happy to toss money at Moyes to take possession of a NHL hockey team, Moyes (and Gretzky) could walk away with a fat wallet or at least “whole”. The only real problem was that Balsillie had already tried to buy a hockey team or two, and was turned down by the NHL Board of Governors, not once but twice in the previous 3 years. So now to get the NHL to accept Balsillie, force the NHL’s hand by taking the team into bankruptcy. Surely the bankruptcy court would force the NHL to sell the team to the highest bidder, insuring the creditors would be paid. Moyes was one creditor with a balance due, he says, of 103 million.
It didn’t work out that way for Moyes. The resulting sale to the NHL forced by the bankruptcy court has placed the team into the three year limbo drama that we are currently experiencing. It has also seen the Goldwater Institute to dig in like a dog with a bone. The question remains, why? Well we could say that it is because Moyes was a board member of Goldwater (2000 he is on the letterhead), or that because he is still, by his estimation, owed 89 mil. Or maybe he has decided that because he didn’t make a good land deal in Glendale, because between Moyes & Ellman, this was all a land deal, that the citizens of Glendale would suffer. GWI is making the Jamison Deal out to be a bad deal, but the reality is that it is a good deal in nearly every way for Glendale. The NHL has, over the past three years, attempted to protect the citizens of Gledale’s investment in Jobing.com arena.
The Coyotes are not a land deal, they are a professional hockey team.
Keep the faith, Coyotes brothers and sisters.